In an ongoing effort to perfect the art of the pickup, Uber just updated its app to allow riders to slightly alter their pickup location mid-request. If you accidentally say you’re in the wrong place, the app will let you essentially edit your pickup location even when the driver is already on his way. The update will only be available on iOS in the US, UK, and Canada to start out with.
Here’s how it works: if your driver is en route but you realize he’s headed to the wrong location, tap the “edit” button and confirm a new pickup location. Slight adjustments are what’s possible; it won’t let you pick a new location clear across town, for example. The driver is then sent the updated location and can re-route appropriately. This works differently depending on whether the driver is using in-app navigation or a third-party navigation app. Uber says it tested this feature in a handful of cities and found that it led to fewer canceled trips and headaches experienced by both drivers and riders.
“The pickup is a core part of the Uber experience and we’re always looking for ways to make it as painless as possible for both riders and drivers,” Rachel Holt, head of operations for Uber in North America, and software engineer Ryan Yu say in a blog post. “This simple fix gives riders more control over their pickup experience and saves everyone time and avoidable headaches.”
Here’s what drivers will see when the pickup location is adjusted:
In its zeal to make pickups as accurate as possible, Uber has occasionally angered riders in how far it has gone. Late last year, Uber began asking customers for their permission to collect location data even when they are not using the app. This includes tracking riders five minutes after their trip ends, and even when the app is in the background of a customer’s smartphone. Some users said the enhanced tracking made them feel uneasy, but the issue fell off the radar after Uber’s other scandals took more prominence.
Uber is also making some big changes to the way it handles complaints against drivers. The changes give drivers more of a say in the complaints process, after drivers said they felt the deck was often stacked against them.
Complaints about a driver will now take into account that driver’s history. So going forward, someone with three rider complaints but just 100 trips under their belt will be treated differently than a driver who has received three complaints but completed 10,000 trips.
Uber says it will now use facial recognition software called Real Time ID to validate a driver’s identification when weighing suspension decisions. This is intended to prevent a driver who shares a vehicle with other drivers for getting deactivated for someone else’s misdeeds.
In the past, Uber simply trusted riders who claimed someone else used their account without permission and invalidated the fare. Now, drivers will get a say in whether or not the trip actually took place. Uber says it will use “technology and input from drivers” to determine whether disputed trips really happened.
Many of these changes were first announced during a conference call with reporters last week involving three of Uber’s top female executives that was meant to address the numerous scandals in which Uber is currently embroiled. There is certainly a hope within the company that making its app better to use will help lure back customers who may have stopped using Uber amid the controversy.